English Language Learning

What is English as an Alternate Language (EAL)?

EAL provides English language instruction and cultural immersion for our non-native speakers of all ages. We're committed to a personalized approach that provides students who are learning English with the necessary tools to succeed in the classroom and beyond. 

Students are evaluated prior to admission for oral, reading, and writing proficiency by Dwight's EAL team and placed in our supplemental program based on evaluation results. 

While English as an Alternate Language (EAL) is often used interchangeably with English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL), we have opted to use EAL because it does not imply any hierarchy for language acquisition.


EAL Across Dwight

At Dwight, we provide EAL integration in every grade to English learners of every level. Our small EAL class sizes foster our commitment to personalized learning, allowing specialists to meet the needs of each unique student.  

The average EAL student spends one academic year in each level from beginner to advanced, but we know that each student is different and a variety of factors affect the learning process, including the age at which they begin learning, their mother tongue, and much more. Students progress to each level and ultimately graduate from the EAL program by passing assessments based on the language demands of Dwight's curriculum.

Beginner/Intermediate: Grades 1-5

In the Lower School, EAL students receive individualized attention and comprehensive support five times during our six-day academic cycle. EAL specialists "push in" to a reading or writing class once per cycle, to observe and work collaboratively with the subject teacher to create a detailed support plan. Words, phrases, and activities are targeted for extra support during EAL class time and the EAL teacher maintains an ongoing dialogue with the subject teacher about strategies and resources to foster student success.

Beginner/Intermediate: Grades 6-12

In the Middle and Upper Schools, EAL students receive individualized attention and comprehensive support five times during our six-day academic cycle. EAL specialists "push in" to an English or History class once per cycle, to observe and work collaboratively with the subject teacher to create a detailed support plan. Words, phrases, and activities are targeted for extra support during EAL class time and the EAL teacher maintains an ongoing dialogue with the subject teacher about strategies and resources to foster student success. Students also attend a writing lab once per cycle.

Advanced: Grades 6-12 

In the Middle and Upper Schools, advanced EAL students receive individualized attention and comprehensive support four to five times during our six-day academic cycle. Students also attend a writing lab once per cycle.

Enhanced Fluency (Supported Learning)

Any graduate of EAL may receive continued help from our specialists through our Enhanced Fluency program. These students receive individualized attention and comprehensive support once during our six-day academic cycle. At this level, our specialists focus on high-level pronunciation and grammar as well as support with classwork.


A Day in the Life of Dwight's EAL Students

On any day, you might find our EAL students: 

  • Practicing writing skills by preparing a letter to the President 
  • Taking a field trip to the Central Park Zoo, where they learn about the animals through reading and listening, and then practice speaking skills by sharing their knowledge with other zoo patrons
  • Preparing a speech for our annual Doris Post oratory competition
  • Working together to create a video presentation describing favorite foods from their home countries

EAL Support Beyond the Classroom

Language learning is an educational journey that extends far beyond the classroom, so Dwight offers an array of extracurricular opportunities.

EAL Online Prep

Our two-week online summer prep course offers students an opportunity to practice speaking, listening, reading, writing, and grammar before starting school in September. The theme is getting to know New York City and the United States! We highly recommend this course to all students entering grades 8-12. Registration information will become available in the spring of 2020. 

August Advantage

The August Advantage program is a chance for students to receive help with their summer homework, meet EAL teachers and some of their classroom teachers and fellow students, and transition back into the school year.

Tuesdays After School

Students receive extra help on academic work after school from EAL teachers in small groups or one-on-one. 

Saturday Study Sessions

Students have a weekend opportunity to receive extra support from EAL teachers with academic work, in a small group setting or one-on-one. 

Specialized Field Trips

EAL students enjoy field trips that include specific English language practice and skill-building activities across New York City. 

TOEFL Prep

This weekly class is open to students in grades 9-12, and is highly recommended for students in grades 11-12. There is no fee, and students are welcome to come every week or as the need arises.

Our EAL Library

Students enjoy a fully stocked library with books in a variety of languages and reading levels. 


Progress Reports and Testing Accommodations 

Dwight's EAL specialists maintain frequent contact with parents and subject teachers. Parents receive a detailed monthly update about their child's progress in all areas of language proficiency. Teachers work together on a constant basis to develop and use the best strategies to support each individual English learner and meet their unique needs.  

Dwight School believes that all students should be assessed under conditions that are fair and appropriate. Therefore, internal testing accommodations are available for all EAL students. Accommodations vary by level, and include time and a half on assessments, directions read aloud by a teacher, the use of a translation dictionary, and more.  

Students in EAL can apply for ESL accommodations on the ACT. The only accommodation allowed on IB exams are word-to-word translated dictionaries. 


LEADERSHIP

Rebecca Singer-Zhou
Head of EAL
rsinger@dwight.edu

Laura Connor
EAL Teacher 

Kristy Benfante
EAL Teacher 

Karen Kearns
EAL Teacher